More than a hundred post offices in Nebraska that were on a list for possible closure will remain open, but with limited hours.
This week’s decision from the U.S. Postal Service follows months of backlash from rural residents at public meetings.
USPS spokesman Rich Watkins says Nebraska’s smallest post offices, if they’re still open, will remain open under the revised plan.
“We’ll keep the post office there, the zip code and the community identity,” Watkins said. “There will still be a postal service employee there, but due to the declining workload, it would be open two, four or perhaps six hours a day.”
The revised plan is expected to save the USPS $500-million a year.
Watkins said the “multi-phased” strategy would be implemented over a two-year period, through September 2014.
Around 13,000 post offices around the country are included under the new plan, including 111 post offices in Nebraska.
Watkins said the reduced hours are needed to address an ever-decreasing mail volume.
“We have to better match our workforce in the facilities that we maintain with a declining work load,” Watkins said. “Going forward, we think this strikes a healthy balance for both our customers and the postal service.”
The Postal Service initially proposed the closings as part of an effort to stem a flow of red ink, now totaling $8.5 million a year. Mail volume has dropped by 43-billion pieces — a 20% decline — as Americans switch to email and online bill paying.